What Makes This P150,000, 10-Step Korean Skincare Line Worth It?

IMAGE Louie Aguinaldo

Many dermatologists would argue that no topical cream or serum can do the job as quickly and effectively as Botox or lasers when it comes to addressing wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin. While a lot of topical solutions do work when used over a period of time, and are usually recommended for skincare maintenance, the primary reason doctors don’t put them in the same category as laser treatments and invasive procedures is that many of their active ingredients aren’t absorbed as efficiently into the skin or don’t penetrate the necessary layers that lasers and invasive procedures can reach effectively. Enter Korean skincare label Areum, launched in the Philippines by Rustan’s. Areum claims that its products save you a facelift through its nature-derived ingredients and, more importantly, its breakthrough technological approach to skin absorption. The beauty world is more than thrilled.

Our skin helps control body temperature and functions as the barrier that protects the body from the outside environment; thus its outer layer is designed to be particularly difficult to penetrate. This is where we see that not all skincare products, even if touted to offer the same benefits, are created equal. The gratification usually associated with using expensive or luxury options such as Areum lies in the assurance of better quality and biochemical design, where their meticulous and intelligent orchestration of powerful and potent ingredients is able to bypass the skin’s barrier and deliver them into the necessary tissues and cells without compromising the skin’s overall integrity.


The complete range of Areum includes daily maintenance products such as gentle soap-free cleanser, mist, three kinds of serum, two gel emulsions, and a recovery cream; and a weekly regimen of peels and lifting masks.

The active ingredients of skin care products usually penetrate different depths of the skin, depending on their carrier and molecule size. For ingredients to take desired effect, they should at least be able to enter the dermo-epidermal junction, which is the area that connects the top layer of the skin (epidermis) to the deeper dermal layers, says dermatologist Windie Hayano. When delivered to the skin at even deeper cellular levels, they can work dramatically in combating aging, sun damage, and oxidation, among other skin concerns. This is how Areum works. It utilizes an innovative skin penetration technology called Protein Transduction Domain (PTD) to “deliver essential ingredients and nutrients to the deepest layer of the skin dermis, which results in true and potent skin renewal,” says Areum founder and president David Kim. Protein transduction has been used in medical science for over a decade now. More recently, however, it was discovered to be effective for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes as well, having been found to play an important role in skin cell regeneration, collagen increase, and the treatment of wrinkles and other kinds of skin damage, including scars. “PTDs are tiny peptides that are able to carry both nanoparticles and larger molecules across cellular membranes,” explains Kim. “See, macromolecules are difficult to transport because of the protective structure of the outer epidermis or the skin barrier. PTD attaches to these essential particles and makes this transfer of macromolecules such as proteins, DNA, and peptides possible into the cells.”

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For the longest time, invasive techniques such as microinjections were the key to protein delivery in skin cells. This required injections of the protein into one cell at a time or electroporation, another popular method employed by many skin rejuvenation machines for facials, which uses electric pulses to create temporary pores through which proteins can enter.

In contrast, PTD is a real breakthrough as it only requires regular topical application while claiming to deliver even better results. Combining PTD with advanced bio and nanotechnology, which uses the smallest-sized multi-peptides, minerals, and nutrients in its products, Areum allows maximum absorption of key ingredients into the skin.

It utilizes an innovative skin penetration technology called Protein Transduction Domain (PTD) to deliver essential ingredients and nutrients to the deepest layer of the skin dermis, which results in true and potent skin renewal.

It’s important to know that the label banks as much on its “delivery system” as it does with its potent ingredients, all “inspired by nature and science,” says Kim. For instance, Areum uses the Stem-C Guard technology, which as the name implies, increases the protective and self-renewal function of particular stem cells in the epidermis using active ingredients from natural peas. This helps in improving the skin’s outer texture by synthesizing proteins and protecting it from harmful UV rays. It also uses Rosamox, a known natural superantioxidant from rosemary and sunflower that provides up to six times better protection and action over free radicals than ordinary antioxidants. Another innovative solution it employs that makes the line work even for sensitive or acne-prone skin is its Mediacalm formula, which uses hogweed root extract as an anti-redness, anti-inflammatory, and anti-irritant ingredient that will eventually restore one’s skin sensitivity threshold back to normal. As for its other anti-aging properties, Areum also relies on traditional yet high-grade ingredients such as ginseng, which is known to be rich in phytonutrients that effectively deliver elasticity, renewal, and vitality; hyaluronic acid, an excellent moisturizer thanks to its capacity to retain water 1,000 times its weight; and of course peptides, which “are better than other whitening agents like vitamin A and retinol, in not being modified and oxidized easily under light and heat,” says Kim. “In fact, its anti-wrinkle effect is 1.5 times quicker than of retinol.”


For five days, we tried the entire line—10 steps at most, which took around half an hour or so every night, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. We’d have to admit that every post application delivered similar results as when we’d leave the dermatologist’s clinic after a laser treatment—plumper, smoother, and lighter skin with less visible lines and pores. The Ultra Intensive Lifting Mask—a weekly treatment—is one of the most impressive products in the line, delivering immediate radiance and lifting after rinsing.

Areum Premium Gold Age Repair, P34,300; Premium Diamond Age Repair, P40,400; Ultra Intensive Lifting Mask (10mL x 5), P22,700; De’ssage Cleanser, P3,800; Mystique First Essence, P5,600; HydroPower Serum, P7,500; Radiant-C Serum, P8,500; Re-Creation Serum, P10,500; Recovery Cream, P10,100; TheraPeel System I: Exfoliate Polisher, P12,300; TheraPeel System II: Replenishing Fortifier, P12,300. All available at Rustan’s Makati; 813.3739.

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About The Author
Nicole Limos Morales
Nicole is the former managing editor of Town & Country Philippines. After working as features editor and beauty editor of the title’s print edition for 6 years, she helped launch Townandcountry.ph in 2016, creating new concepts and story formats, analyzing data, and mastering digital audiences—establishing the title to become the Philippines’ leading luxury lifestyle website. She left her full-time position in 2019 to focus on family life, while carrying on writing beauty content for T&C as a contributing editor. “I think what’s amazing about beauty is that in its arena, you can really only be a skeptic for so long,” she says. “There will always be a product that will make you believe.”
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